Essential Documents Checklist

All young people need certain important documents to successfully transition to adulthood. These documents are essential as young people enroll in school, apply for a job or financial aid for college, obtain health insurance, obtain a driver’s license, secure an apartment and open a bank account.

Best practice and policy make clear that young people transitioning from foster care must receive their essential documents or be supported in obtaining them. When documents have been misplaced these documents must be replaced prior to the young person transitioning from foster care.

Upon exiting foster care, young people should have in their possession, at a minimum, their Social Security card, a certified copy of their birth certificate or green card, and a government-issued photo ID. Among the most necessary documents for transitioning young people are:

  • State-issued identification card
  • Social Security card
  • Medical records, including immunization record
  • TennCare card and healthcare.gov information
  • Birth certificate
  • Religious documents and information, if applicable
  • Documentation of immigration or naturalization, if applicable
  • Death certificate, if parents are deceased
  • Life Book
  • List of adult relatives and other supportive adults
  • Previous placement information
  • Education records
  • Green card, if applicable
  • Voter registration card, if applicable
  • Bank account information, if applicable
  • Work permit, if needed
  • Driver’s license, if applicable

Need Documents?

If you do not have your essential documents or have lost some of your essential documents, please call our toll-free number:
844-887-7277, your local DCS office, or former case manager.